Omitara languishes in poverty

05 February 2019 | Local News

Lack of access to land, limited employment opportunities, drugs, and alcohol abuse, are all factors that contribute to high poverty and crime levels in the Omitara settlement, some 30 kilometres north of Gobabis in the Omaheke Region.

This is the view of the police's station commander in Omitara, Warrant Officer Cherina Mbomboro, in an interview with Nampa during a recent visit to the settlement.

The most prominent crimes in the settlement, she explained, are stock theft (although not constant), illegal hunting and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (assault GBH).

Unemployment in the settlement is estimated to be at 90%.

“One would say crime is mostly caused by unemployment. People would go and steal so that they get some money to sustain themselves and their families,” Mbomboro said.

Like in many parts of the country, Omitara is also battling with a lack of land, for both agricultural and business purposes.

“There is actually no space for them to do (things like) gardening or even for livestock,” she added.

With over 40 illegal shebeens supplying non-stop alcohol to the about 2 000 residents, the rate at which alcoholic drinks are consumed, particularly among school-going children is worrisome, she expressed.

This, Mbomboro attributed to lack of parenting and discipline.

The station commander further said in maintaining law and order, the police at the settlement have to do with one vehicle, a Toyota bakkie with a canopy which is not standardised for a police vehicle.

“Safety wise, I think it's not that safe, if you have to carry prisoners and so on,” she added.

Another issue is the poor accommodation facilities for the 15 police officers.

“It's bad because there are men and women that are sharing toilets and showers, which is not acceptable,” she bemoaned, adding that under normal circumstances, female and male police officers are not allowed to share the same barracks.

NAMPA